Alternative business lender, Spotcap has announced Sophie Peacock as the winner of the Fintech Fellowship for 2018. Running for its second consecutive year, the Fellowship awards one UK-based masters or MBA student with a £8k scholarship. By supporting aspiring talent, the initiative aims to plug the fintech skills gap by raising awareness of career opportunities in the field.
The UK currently stands at the forefront of the global financial technology field. Last year, the industry employed 61,000 individuals and attracted £600 million in investment. However, a skills gap is already being observed: 58 per cent of UK FinTech Census 2017 respondents reported that attracting qualified talent is one of the top three challenges in sustaining the industry’s growth.
The first of its kind, the Fintech Fellowship aims to narrow the talent gap by encouraging aspiring talent like Peacock to pursue their interest in financial technology. Forty-one universities backed the initiative this year, sharing information about the fellowship and career opportunities in fintech with their incoming classes.
A recent graduate from Durham University with a first-class honours degree in Mathematics, Sophie will use the scholarship to support her MSc in Data Science and Machine Learning at UCL. Peacock says “A year-long placement at IBM sparked my interest in fintech. This sector is having a huge impact on the way people think about their finances, and I would love to be a part of the continuing wave of innovation. During my masters programme, I hope to gain a more in-depth understanding of how complex algorithms like neural networks can contribute to the development of the financial technology industry.”
The Fintech Fellowship brought together five industry experts who jointly agreed that Sophie was the best candidate to win the Fellowship this year. Niels Turfboer, Managing Director of Spotcap UK and member of the judging panel, said “Sophie is an extremely talented and driven student and we hope the scholarship will help her pursue her passion for innovation in technology and finance. The skills gap is real, and the industry needs to take action. If each fintech organisation brings its own approach to addressing the issue and helps raise awareness of the many exciting career paths available, the UK talent pipeline would benefit.”
Additional members of the Spotcap Fintech Fellowship include: Marilena Ioannidou, Director & Team Lead on Fintech Investments at British Business Investment; Stephen Ingledew, Chief Executive at FinTech Scotland; Tanya Andreasyan, Managing Director and Editor at Fintech Futures and Elizabeth Lumley, global fintech commentator and advisor.